Sunday, January 30, 2011
This morning, at Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, Illinois, my son Josh and my daughter-in-law Melissa presented the newest member of our family to be dedicated to God. The ceremony, a rather simple affair, gives the parents the responsibility of seeing to it that the child is reared in the Word of God and that Word becomes the basis for their lives.
For the ceremony itself, the entire family was called to the altar. As the minister proceeded with the ceremony, I must admit that I did not take in many of the words he was pronouncing over the family. Rather, my mind shot back through time to days in an era that was much simpler than the times in which we live. There, I saw Josh as the little boy growing up with a sense of curiosity and wonder of the world that were so unique to him. Then my glance led to Aliyah. She is so like her father and I could not help but notice how similar the two are today. Younger sisters Keirah and Noelliah, rested in the arms of each parent as the dedication unfolded.
As the family stood on that stage, my heart swelled with pride not in anything that I had done but in the kind of man my son has become. He is first and foremost a man who places God at the center of his life. He has made a commitment to guide his family using God as his compass. He is a husband who is fully dedicated to his wife, loving and embracing her for all that she is and all that she brings to his life (which is considerable). He is a father who embraces his children every day with a deep and abiding love founded upon his love for God. His girls are his life and you can be sure that they will always be under his watchful eye. And then he is the son who has given his father a love that is unearned but surely welcomed. This love has given and energy to my life that is beyond words.
All five of them-Josh, Melissa, Aliyah, Keirah, and Noelliah-bring pride to this baby-boom father like nothing else in his life. As I looked upon that family I realized just how much God loves me by favoring me with this vision of family. Encapsulated in that moment was the message of just how much He loves us all and how much He has sacrificed us all so that we may share these profound moments in life.
I am profoundly grateful to Josh and Melissa for their bringing into the world three little lights that will grow into shinning beacons of God's love for man. And I am profoundly moved that God would allow me to glimpse this remarkable manifestation of His love. Profound, in reality, doesn't even begin to describe it!